Probe launched as Russian athletes withdraw before doping tests

Athletes compete in the 110-meter hurdles semifinal run during the national track and field championship in Moscow in July 2017

The group, which includes the anti-doping agencies from Australia, France, Germany, Ireland, Scandinavia and the United States, has already sent the International Olympic Committee a suggested set of criteria and restated that recommendation on Wednesday.

The 2015 world 110m hurdle champion Sergey Shubenkov, a Russian who now competes as a neutral athlete, tweeted: "Doping control drove in".

"The NADO leaders agreed in Bonn that robust and demanding criteria, as well as the names of Russian athletes with their individual testing histories who have met them, need to be published as soon as possible", the statement added.

The criteria the group called for included athletes having had a minimum of 12 months testing in a WADA code-compliant programme, minimum levels of out-of-competition testing, no association with prohibited coaches, no mention in the McLaren Reports, and having revealed all knowledge of doping activity.

In a joint statement, the agencies said "multiple global inquiries" have now established that Russian athletes have lost the "presumption of innocence".

"In its decision, the IOC EB deliberately did not limit this panel to a list of criteria to determine the invitation list", they said in a statement.

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The IOC banned Russian Federation from competing at the forthcoming Games, in December.

Other nations to sign-up to the NADO statement are Austria, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, France, Finland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Slovenia and Sweden.

They insisted the ban on Russian Federation should stay in place until WADA has been given access to stored samples and data at the Moscow laboratory, and any reinstatement should be on the condition of whistleblowers' ongoing safety.

On December 5, the IOC's Executive Board ruled to disqualify the entire Russian squad from next month's Olympics, as the result of an investigation into an alleged state-sponsored doping program which it is presumed was undertaken in Russia during the 2014 Games in Sochi. Russian outfit company ZASPORT, an official clothing supplier of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), presented several designs of Olympic apparel for national athletes travelling to South Korea's PyeongChang for 2018 Winter Olympics, the company announced on Thursday.

It's not the first time Russian athletes have been accused of dodging doping tests.

It also said that the cases of three biathletes - Olga Zaytseva, Olga Vilukhina and Yana Romanova - would not be among those heard next week as the relevant procedures have been "suspended".

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